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Author Archive

Genie Boom Crane is an “Automobile”: FSCO Arbitrator

Note: This decision was overturned on appeal.

A new arbitration decision from the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) has determined that a “Genie Boom Crane” is an “automobile” under the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule.

The decision, Joseph Beattie and Unifund Assurance Company [FSCO A13-005289], describes the Genie as, “a four-wheeled mobile crane, propelled by its own motor”, which is used to elevate a worker to perform a maintenance function.

In this particular case, the Applicant, Mr. Beattie, was operating the crane on a private parking lot.  The ground level collapsed into the level below, injuring him.  Mr. Beattie applied for accident benefits through his own insurance company, Unifund Assurance.  Unifund took the position that the crane was not an “automobile” at the time and place when the structure collapsed and was, therefore, not an “accident”.

The arbitrator found that, since the crane was a “vehicle propelled or driven otherwise than by muscular power” and did not meet the specific exclusions under the section of the Highway Traffic Act, it was a vehicle.  Since it was used off-road, it did not require compulsory insurance, thereby not making it subject to the provisions of the Insurance Act.

The entire decision can be read by clicking on the link below.

Beattie and Unifund – Genie Boom – Accident

FSCO Releases New Professional Services Guideline

The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) has released an updated Professional Services Guideline, which applies to expenses related to services provided by health care providers rendered on or after September 6, 2014.

A copy of the new guideline can be found at the link below.

2014 FSCO Fee Guidelines

New OCF Forms to be used effective November 1, 2014

The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) has released two bulletins with new forms to be used for accident benefits claims, effective November 1, 2014.

The new forms include the Application for Accident Benefits (OCF-1), Treatment and Assessment Plan (OCF-18), Auto Insurance Standard Invoice (OCF-21) and the Treatment Confirmation Form (OCF-23).

In a bulletin released by FSCO it was indicated that the reason for these changes is “to improve transparency and clarity regarding data analytics and pooling of information to detect fraud.  The OCF-23 has also been revised to accommodate Service Provider Licensing.”

These new forms can be downloaded at the links below:

OCF-1 – Effective Nov 1, 2014

OCF-18 – Effective November 1, 2014

OCF-21 – Effective November 1, 2014

OCF-23 – Effective November 1, 2014

FSCO Decision Reinforces Viability of Retrospective Attendant Care Needs Assessments (Form 1’s)

A new arbitration decision from the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) affirms previous decisions that a retrospective attendant care needs assessment (commonly referred to as a “Form 1”) are viable.

In the decision Stephanie Kelly and Guarantee Company of North America [FSCO A12-006663], Arbitrator John Wilson affirmed that Ms. Kelly is entitled to payment for supplementary attendant care services, to be reimbursed for the cost for the Form 1 assessment, interest, and her expenses in the matter.

Ms. Kelly suffered catastrophic injuries and required one-to-one attendant care while in hospital.  Her family was, understandably, not in a position to know that a Form 1 was required to be completed to determine the amount of attendant care needs she required by use of a Form 1.  Once they were aware that one needed to be completed they retained an occupational therapist, who then completed a retrospective assessment.

In considering The Guarantee’s position that no attendant care benefit is payable prior to a Form 1 being submitted to an insurer, Arbitrator Wilson relied on a previous arbitration decision, T.N. and The Personal, wherein Arbitrator Bayefsky stated the following:

This does not, in my view, mean that an insured forfeits their right to attendant care benefits, or that an insurer is released of any obligation to pay attendant care benefits, prior to the Form 1 being submitted. In my view, significantly stronger statutory language would be required to effect this purpose. The section as it now reads simply ensures the orderly determination of a person’s need for attendant care (in accordance with a proper attendant care needs assessment), and protects an insurer from having to determine what it should pay in the absence of a specific and legitimate attendant care needs assessment.

The decision can be read in its entirety by clicking on the link below.

Kelly and Guarantee

Bus Passes or Tickets constitute an “Economic Loss”: FSCO

The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) has released an arbitration decision that confirms that the purchase of bus passes or tickets by a non-professional for the provision of housekeeping and home maintenance, as well as caregiving services and (arguably) attendant care, constitutes “economic loss” under the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS).

On September 1, 2010, the accident benefits legislation was changed so that non-professionals (i.e., those who have not provided the services in the course of the employment, occupation or profession in which he or she would ordinarily have been engaged, but for the accident) could only be reimbursed for the services they provided if they had incurred an economic loss.  The term “economic loss” was not defined within the regulations.

In the decision Asokumaran and TD Home (FSCO A12-007443) Arbitrator Susan Alves noted that it was submitted that the insured’s friend purchased bus tickets and/or passes to travel to the insured’s home.  Both parties agreed to submit to a preliminary issue on whether or not these expenses would constitute an “economic loss”.  The arbitrator did not address whether or not these expenses were incurred to provide the housekeeping and caregiver services and that issue will be decided at the main arbitration hearing.

What is clear from this decision is the rejection of a de minimis requirement (that is, that there is a possible minimum amount required for an economic loss argument to be established).  The insurer in this case relied heavily on a previous arbitration decision, Simser and Aviva Canada, which was generally restrictive with respect to broader-use definitions of what constitutes an economic loss.  Arbitrator Alves noted the following:

In Simser and Aviva Canada Inc., (FSCO A11-004610, January 16, 2013), the hearing arbitrator adopted the definition of economic loss from Black’s Law Dictionary and held that economic loss as applied in the Schedule must relate to some form of financial or monetary loss. This conclusion was not disturbed on appeal.
At the Simser hearing, the applicant had significant evidentiary difficulties in establishing the various losses claimed. For example, the hearing arbitrator described the evidence adduced at the hearing as vague and lacking in detail, lacking documentary evidence from the service provider’s employer, despite numerous requests from the insurer, and that there was a failure to link the expense or loss to the attendant care claimed. With respect to some of the out-of-pocket expenses, the arbitrator held that they were de minimis and therefore did not amount to economic loss.
I am not persuaded that the expenditure of $5,048 in this case is de minimis. The Court of Appeal in [Gore v.] Henry rejected any de minimis requirement for an expense to qualify as economic loss. On this point, on appeal, Delegate Blackman noted that the hearing arbitrator in Simser adopted the de minimis approach taken by the trial judge in Henry v. Gore Mutual. However, the arbitrator did not have the benefit of the Court of Appeal’s decision rejecting the de minimis approach at the time he issued his decision.
What is clear from these cases is that a loss of wages or a loss of income will qualify as an economic loss. I am not persuaded by the Insurer’s submission in this case, that the term economic loss should be read restrictively so that only those losses will qualify. Had the legislature intended to restrict economic loss to wage loss or loss of income, it could have so stated. Insurance coverage provisions are to be interpreted broadly, while coverage exclusions or restrictions are to be construed narrowly in favour of the insured.  In my view, the Applicant has demonstrated that funds were expended by her friend and service provider in the amount of $5,048 to purchase bus tickets and/or passes in order for her to travel to the Applicant’s home. The purchases involved the expenditure of funds by the service provider, were a monetary loss to her and therefore qualify as an economic loss within the meaning of the Schedule.

The decision can be read in its entirety by clicking on the link below.

Asokumaran and TD – Economic Loss

Balance needed between interests of drivers, insurers

June 2, 2014

Balance needed between interests of drivers, insurers

While the future of a bill meant to address pressing concerns in the auto insurance system is unknown, the issues persist, and drivers are still in need of cost-saving solutions, says Toronto personal injury lawyer Peter Cho.

The Liberal government’s Bill 171, the Fighting Fraud and Reducing Automobile Insurance Rates Act, passed second reading in April, and proposed making several changes to the auto insurance dispute resolution system. The bill is now effectively dead as the legislature has dissolved for the June 12 election.

Cho, associate with Smitiuch Injury Law, said he’s glad to see Bill 171 go by the wayside, but as long as auto insurance rates remain an issue in Ontario, another version of the bill is likely to be presented in the near future.

Read the complete article at: Advocatedaily.com

Contact Peter Cho for further information.

FSCO Increases Attendant Care Hourly Rates

The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) has just released the updated hourly rates for attendant care for all accidents after June 1, 2014.  This applies to accident benefits claims.

Part 1 services (for routine personal care) will be $13.19 per hour.  Part 2 services (for basic supervisory functions) will be $11.00 per hour.  Part 3 services (complex health/care and hygiene functions) will be $19.35 per hour.

A copy of the guideline can be obtained by clicking below.

2014 Attendant Care Hourly Rate Guidelines

Why Ontario drivers pay the highest insurance premiums in Canada

Auto Insurance

Why Ontario drivers pay the highest insurance premiums in Canada

ROBERT COLLISON

Special to The Globe and Mail

Published

Insurance

The Fraser Institute’s landmark 2011 study on public-versus-private delivery of auto insurance in Canada concluded that Ontario’s private-sector insurance regimen enjoyed the questionable distinction of being the most expensive in the country – a conclusion even more damning because the report’s major takeaway was the overall superiority of the private system in other parts of Canada.

Read the complete article in the Globe and Mail.

 

Michael Smitiuch Comments on Ontario’s Plan to Regulate Tow Truck Industry

Smitiuch Injury Law’s Principal, Michael Smitiuch, is quoted by Advocatedaily.com regarding the Government of Ontario’s plan to regulate the tow truck industry.

You can read the article by clicking here.

The Winter 2014 issue of disclosure is now available

Get the facts and the truth about some common Traffic Law Myths. Did you know that a traffic ticket cannot simply be dropped even if there was a mistake made on the ticket?Winter 2014 Newsletter Cover

 

Do you have a favourite lawyer joke? Is it in our list of PG rated jokes?

 

Although the annual number of impaired driving charges is down, it only takes one impaired driver to cause a traffic incident and destroy a family for life. Read about FAID and Smitiuch Injury Law’s support of the Freeze the Keys campaign.

 

These are just a few of the interesting articles in this issue.

 

The newsletter is available on our website or to request a hardcopy please call 1-866-621-1551 or email us at [email protected]

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